While we can't grow cocoa trees in Canada, we have many artisans who bring in superior beans and produce bean-to-bar chocolate on-site--roasting, cracking, winnowing, grinding, conching and tempering. Here are nine across the country that offer everything from simply sinful dark chocolate to drinkable chocolate, gelato and other confectioneries.
(Photo by SarahC73 on Flickr.)
Chaleur B Chocolat – Carleton-sur-Mer, QC
Dany Marquis and his wife have only been making chocolate since 2014, but their bars have already gained attention, making their way into, Chocolate – The Reference Standard: The Chocolate Tester 2015, the world’s annually published chocolate bible. Using beans from Madagascar, Uganda, Fiji, and other countries, Chaleur B Chocolat's single origin bars are definitely worth checking out. And for lovers of other types of beans, they roast and sell coffee too!
Olivia Chocolat – Gatineau, QC
Good dark chocolate is something that should be gluten-free and dairy-free. At its simplest, it’s really just cocoa beans and sugar. That being said, Olivia Chocolat takes milk chocolate to the next level, veganizing it through the use of coconut milk and hemp milk. It also offers raw chocolate, and incorporates maple into one of its signature bars. You can’t get more Canadian than that.
SOMA Chocolatemaker – Toronto, ON
Established back in 2003, SOMA was one of the first bean-to-bar chocolate producers in Canada. Since then, it has opened two storefronts and started supplying its chocolate to boutiques across Canada and the U.S. In addition to chocolate, It offers gelato, cookies, toffee, and more, guaranteeing that your sweet tooth will be satisfied.
Hummingbird Chocolate – Almonte, ON
It takes more than pretty packing for chocolate to shine. Hummingbird Chocolate Maker came home with several wins at the 2015 International Chocolate Awards, including Canadian gold for its Hispaniola bar. This 70 per cent cacao variety is made from organic beans from northern Dominican Republic, and has a fruity profile reminiscent of raisins or cherries.
ChocoSol Traders – Toronto, ON
ChocoSol was founded in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2004 and has been producing top-notch, stone ground chocolate ever since. Made in small batches, with attention to detail (like ensuring its products are free of dairy, gluten, soy, and nuts), it is really doing chocolate right. It also offers hot or cold drinking chocolate, just like the ancient Mayans consumed back in the day (or so history tells us). I’ll take my chocolate any way I can get it!
Choklat – Calgary, AB
One of the few chocolate producers from Western Canada on the list, Choklat has been a staple in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood for years. Not only does it make bean-to-bar milk and dark chocolate, it also turns the chocolate into confections and baked goods, like truffles and cookies. Tastings are also available, which make for the perfect date night for any chocoholic couple.
EastVan Roasters – Vancouver, B.C.
Chocolate and coffee are both done right at East Van Roasters. The coolest thing about this producer is that the business was actually designed to train and employ women from the Rainier Hotel, an addiction recovery centre. So, not only does the chocolate taste amazing, but when you buy it, you are putting your money towards something that helps people get back on their feet. May I suggest its 70 per cent Peruvian bar, a fruit-forward chocolate with bursts of dried cherry?
Sirene Chocolate – Victoria, B.C.
Toronto-born Taylor Kennedy has travelled and lived all over the world--earning a double major in cell and molecular biology and economics and studying finance, but it was his passion for sustainability and food that led him to settle down in Victoria with Sirene. Sirene mainly sources its cocoa beans from two countries: Madagascar and Ecuador. While the Madagascar beans are more citrusy, the Ecuadorean beans bring on that full-blown chocolate richness that we all know and love (and if you don’t, you probably shouldn't be reading this). However, its Guatemalan bar is definitely one to try–it just won a silver medal in the Americas category at the 2015 International Chocolate Awards.
Organic Fair – Cobble Hill, B.C.
If you’re looking for pantry staples like salts, spices, and most importantly, chocolate, Organic Fair has you covered. As the name suggests, all of its chocolate is certified organic and fair trade, and comes in a range of interesting and delicious flavour combinations, including apples, maple syrup, and smoked salt, espresso beans and lemon. You can even order custom sets of three to find the one that tickles your fancy.